“Academic Research in Business Can Often Be Debatable and Often Controversial and Inconclusive”

I have been sending numerous e-mails letting people know of The Silencing of Academic Researcher Wade Pfau by The Buy-and-Hold Mafia. Set forth below are reports on five responses.

1) Zabihollah Rezaee, the Thompson-Hill Chair of Excellence and Professor of Accountancy at the University of Memphis, wrote: “Thank you for your e-mail. I find results of the article interesting. However, academic research in business can be debatable and often controversial and inconclusive.” I wrote back: “Thanks for your response. This one has been plenty controversial! I believe that in time this will be recognized as being a very big deal. So I see this as being a good sort of controversy. However, I think it would be fair to say that not everyone agrees with me re this point today. Please take good care.”

2) William Ziemba, a Professor of Financial Modeling and Stochastic Optimization at the Univeristy of British Columbia, wrote: “Good luck.”

3) Alice Woolley, a Law Professor at the University of Calgary, wrote: “It looks very interesting. It is also entirely outside my area of expertise, and I don’t think I could add anything to your work.”

4) Gandolfo Dominici, Scientific Director and Vice President at Business Systems Laboratory, wrote: “At least from my academic experience in the peripheral Italy, I have never experienced that to write something could be ‘dangerous’ for one’s academic career. It can be for consulting maybe and many colleagues do consulting. Personally, in my field I wrote and talk often against many of the so-called ‘best practices” and never felt any pressure to stop. Maybe it is because no one cares what I say. Or maybe there is no conspiracy but just that the ‘best practice’ reductionist way is ‘comfortable’ instead of using our brains to understand that things in the world do not follow ‘models’ because the world is too complex to fit in a model.” I wrote back that: “There are strange things going on in the investing realm. I do not believe that the right word to describe the reality is ‘conspiracy.’ I think a better term is ‘cognitive dissonance.’ One odd element of this is that I believe that a big reason why people are struggling with the new findings is that they view them as ‘too good to be true.’ So, once we get past the skepticism, I believe that we are going to achieve some amazing advances. In any event, your input certainly helps me to gain a slightly better sense of things.”

5) Lilian Ng, an International Finance Professor at the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business, wrote: “I took a quick look at your interesting article. I believe your findings, but don’t have time to take on a new project at this time. So sorry.” I wrote back: “Please don’t feel any need to apologize. Your kind words have brought a small measure of cheer to my Sunday morning. That helps. You have done more than many others have been able to. Things are moving in the right direction and I am confident that we will all make it together to a better place in days to come.”


  1. sparky says

    It looks like another list of people who are either trying to humor you, doing their best to be polite and/ or just don’t care.

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